Plasma cutters have become easier to use than ever before, to the point where some people are even adding them to their home shops. But whether you’re a professional or an amateur, it’s always important for you to spend some time assessing the quality of the work you’re performing with a plasma cutter and determine what you can do to improve.
With this in mind, here are a few tips from Metal Pro Inc. that can help you improve the quality of your plasma cutting in Phoenix, AZ:
- Know your machine: Even before you ever use the plasma cutter for the first time, you should always thoroughly read the owner’s manual to make sure you’re completely familiar with how to operate your machine safely and correctly. It can also help to watch some video demonstrations online for your specific machine. This will not only help you stay safe, but also help you ensure you’re able to get the most out of the capabilities of your machine.
- Practice first: It’s always beneficial to make a practice cut before the “real thing.” Be sure to use the same type of material you’re going to be working with. This will help you ensure you’ve set the machine to the correct settings, including travel speed.
- Always use a drag shield: If your plasma cutter has a drag shield, it’s a good idea to use it. In doing so, you’ll be able to rest the torch on the piece of material you’re working on while still being able to keep an eighth-inch standoff that doesn’t result in your touching the tip to the metal.
- Use the correct tip: The tip you use for your plasma cutting job will depend on the amperage setting you’re using. Lower-amperage tips will have smaller openings that give narrower streams of plasma at lower settings for the machine. If you use a smaller tip at a larger setting, it will damage the tip opening and significantly cut down on its usable life. Meanwhile, using a tip meant for higher settings on a lower amperage setting will result in an unfocused plasma stream, which will reduce your precision and accuracy as you cut.
- Use a straight edge: To ensure precise cuts, it’s a good idea to use a straight edge that you have clamped down on your work piece as you guide the torch through. You probably do this exact thing when working with wood, especially when using a circular saw, so it’s a good practice to carry over to your metalworking when you’re making long, straight cuts.
- Keep moving: When plasma cutting, it’s good to remember that the faster you travel with the plasma cutter, the cleaner your ultimate cut will be. This is especially true with softer metals, like aluminum. When the material is thin, turn down the amperage and make sure you’re using the proper tip to maintain a clean cut and a narrow kerf.
These are just a few tips to keep in mind to help you achieve better results from your plasma cutting in Phoenix, AZ. For more information about the plasma cutting process and how you can maximize the quality of your cuts, we encourage you to contact Metal Pro Inc. We look forward to discussing your project!